Shogi Etiquette│What to keep in mind when playing and what spectators should keep in mind when watching a game
In addition to the rules of the game, there are other rules of etiquette for playing Shogi that both players need to follow in order to play comfortably. In recent years, it has become easy to play Shogi online, and some people may not have many opportunities to meet their opponents face to face. However, if you are interested in participating in Shogi tournaments or social events, we recommend that you learn Shogi etiquette as well.
Shogi is only possible when you have a partner to play with. To ensure a smooth game and friendly competition, it is important to learn the basic manners of Shogi. In this article, we will explain the manners you should know while playing or watching a game of Shogi.
Manners during a game of Shogi
When playing Shogi, you must not only learn the rules of the game, such as how to move the pieces, but also the manners that should be observed during the game. First, we will explain the basic manners during a game of Shogi, a traditional Japanese game of chess.
Do not "wait" for the game to begin.
Waiting is prohibited in official Shogi games and tournaments. Waiting" means to move your finger away from a piece and then move it to another square. Once a player removes his finger from a piece, the move is considered completed, and it is against manners to move the piece after that. It is important to note that this is forbidden in official games and tournaments, and may result in a loss due to foul play. However, in some exceptional cases, such as in private practice or in instructional games (i.e., when a player receives instruction through a game with a professional Go player), "waiting" may be permitted.
Pieces should be pointed so that they fit neatly into the squares of the board.
When pointing a piece in shogi, be aware that the piece should be placed neatly in a square on the board, and be careful not to place the piece in a messy way. If you do not know exactly where a piece is placed, it will be difficult for your opponent to make the next move. Play carefully in the center of the squares. In the beginning, it is ideal to repeatedly practice the basics of the moves, such as how to hold and place the pieces, so that you can make beautiful moves.
Place your pawns so that they are not hidden but can be seen clearly.
When you take a piece from your opponent during a game, place it so that you can see it clearly. Place the pieces neatly face down on the table. Do not place them face down or on top of each other. If you cannot see each other's pieces, it will be difficult to correctly grasp the game. By arranging your pieces neatly, you will be able to organize your thoughts during the game. If it is difficult to see your opponent's pieces, you may request that they be placed in a different way.
Etiquette for your opponent
In the traditional Japanese game of Shogi, it is considered important to behave with courtesy toward your opponent during a game. Therefore, when a beginner plays Shogi with someone, it is important to first learn how to be courteous to your opponent. Here, we will introduce some manners toward your opponent.
Be aware of the distinction between higher-ranked and lower-ranked players
Shogi games are characterized by the distinction between higher-ranked and lower-ranked players according to their chess ability (i.e., strength of chess). There are differences between the higher ranked and lower ranked players in terms of the work performed in the game, sitting position, pieces used, and so on. The higher-ranked players sit at the top of the table, prepare the pieces, and clean up after the game. The "Osho" is the piece used by the higher-ranked player, and the "Yusho" is the piece used by the lower-ranked player. In addition, the "Furikoma," which determines the first and second moves in a game, is considered to be done by the higher-ranked players.
Generally, the two players' game strength is determined by the difference in dan level, age, and titles won. However, in amateur tournaments, it is not uncommon for the higher-ranked and lower-ranked players to be decided by mutual concession when both players' go strength is unknown.
A game of Shogi is not complete without a partner. Therefore, when you play a game, you should respect your opponent and greet him or her in a pleasant manner from the beginning to the end of the game. The basic greetings are "Yoroshiku daishimasu" before the game and "Arigatou sama desu" (Thank you) after the game. If you need to leave the game to use the restroom, it is advisable to say a few words to your opponent before leaving your seat. Be conscious of communication so that the game can be played comfortably and smoothly.
Tell your opponent clearly when you give up the game.
Resignation means admitting defeat and declaring it. When you have decided that you have lost, clearly state your intention to resign by saying "I have lost" or "I have come to an end. Even if you are disappointed at losing a game, it is considered good manners in Shogi to admit defeat gracefully. Similarly, when the winning side accepts the resignation, it is not good manners to express your joy openly in front of your opponent. The winning side should thank the losing side for the game by saying "Thank you very much" without forgetting to be considerate of the losing side. Ideally, the game should end on a mutually pleasant note.
Conducting an Impression Game
A "kanjiken" is a mutual discussion with your opponent about good or bad moves made during the game. In Shogi, it is considered good manners to give feedback after a game, so be proactive in your interactions. It is common practice for the losing player to initiate the feedback game. The advantage of a feedback game is that you and your opponent can deepen your understanding of Shogi by teaching each other and thinking about the best moves to make. It is also a good opportunity to get hints on how to improve your game, so if you are frustrated at losing a game, take advantage of the opportunity to have a game of feedback.
How to Watch Shogi
One of the great pleasures of Shogi is to watch someone else's game. However, a third party who is present at a serious game must watch the game with good manners. Finally, I will explain the manners that you should keep in mind when watching a Shogi game as a third party.
Do not talk to the players during the game.
It is considered bad manners for a third party to talk to the players during a game of Shogi. Since it is prohibited for a third party to give advice during a game, please try to watch the game quietly without speaking. As mentioned above, after a game of Shogi is over, there is a "commentary" in which the players review each other's moves. During the "Kando-sen", it is possible to ask the players about the moves they made during the game, but basically, the exchange between the players takes precedence over the game. Ask questions after observing the situation.
Do not interrupt the game.
Third parties observing a game of shogi should avoid any behavior that may disrupt the concentration of the players or distract them from the game. They should be careful not to do anything that could interfere with the game. For example, it is good manners to watch the game quietly and calmly, avoiding eating and drinking around the players and private conversations among third parties. Also, peering into the shogi board excessively may be considered inappropriate, so please be careful when watching the game.
Please observe the etiquette of shogi to make the game a pleasant experience!
So far, we have introduced some manners that you should keep in mind while playing or watching a game of Shogi. Shogi, a traditional Japanese game, has various rules of etiquette to ensure that players can play comfortably with each other. Failure to observe these manners may prevent the game from proceeding smoothly or may make your opponent feel uncomfortable. Once you have learned the rules of Shogi, be sure to observe the rules of the game so that you can play Shogi in a pleasant manner.